Beat

22 February 5:40 pm

Jose Villarreal scored the only goal as the U.S. Under-20's defeated Costa Rica 1-0 to win Group A at the CONCACAF U-20 Championships. 

The match was an evenly played affair until the  LA Galaxy forward broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute by nodding home a cross from Luis Gil past the Central American goalkeeper. The U.S. had already earned a berth in the quarterfinals, but will now face Canada, who defeated Nicaragua 5-1 on Friday. 

The winner of that quarterfinal match up will qualify for the U-20 World Cup in Turkey later this year.

22 February 12:24 pm

The LA Galaxy preseason match against the Colorado Rapids is not the only important match taking place on Friday as Jose Villarreal and the U.S. U-20 team will take on Costa Rica in an CONCACAF U-20 Championship group stage match (3:30 p.m PST, Fox Soccer)

The U.S. has already booked a place to quarterfinals of the competition, but will lock down the top spot in Group A with a win or draw against the Central Americans. In this video produced by U.S. soccer, Villarreal, head coach Tab Ramos and several other players preview the match.

Check it out below...

22 February 11:37 am

There’s been plenty of interesting copy produced by LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane in the past several days.

Whether it is Sporting News correspondent Brian Straus’ stellar piece on the Irish forward or rock legend Morrissey’s poem to Keane — wherein he describes Keane’s as "pacing like a lion, as weightless as an astronaut" — which he wrote after meeting him on Tuesday.

To get more of a feel for what it is like to play alongside the Irish forward, I spoke to Mike Magee, who will likely be tasked with starting alongside Keane up top when the regular season starts on March 3.

Check it out below…

(On their relationship on the field…)

MAGEE: “Me and Robbie, there’s no issues with us playing together. The obvious thing is that we’re not a conventional pairing up top with us both wanting the ball to our feet and wanting to combine. It’s not conventional, but if we get put out together it definitely works.

(On how he handles Keane’s Irish brogue on the field…)

MAGEE: “It’s easy now, but I think he’s lightened up and it’s easier to understand. On the field, it is hard sometimes because he goes back to his younger Irish days when he doesn’t concentrate on his speaking. Sometimes, it’s harder to understand, but I enjoy playing with him.”

(On Keane’s strengths on the field…)

MAGEE: In terms of his play, his movement is second to none. it’s more or less getting your head up and try to find out where he is and where he wants the ball because if you take your eyes off him, he’ll be 20 yards from where you saw him last. He’s just a guy that you’ve got to find and you got to find his feet early. 

21 February 5:05 pm

On Wednesday, Landon Donovan spoke to a class at the USC Marshall School of Business, and on Thursday, his agent Richard Motzkin provided a clip of Donovan's lecture.

Check it out below...

21 February 2:11 pm

CARSON, Calif. -- The question of whether Tommy Meyer or A.J. DeLaGarza would start alongside Omar Gonzalez in the LA Galaxy starting XI to start the season was one of the preseason's most intriguing questions, but it seems that a hamstring injury may have given the job to DeLaGarza -- for the first match anyway. 

Meyer has missed the Galaxy's last two preseason matches with a nagging hamstring strain and head coach Bruce Arena told reporters after the club's 6-2 victory over Club Tijuana that the injury may keep the second-year center back out of the lineup for the season opener on March 3 against the Chicago Fire. On Thursday after the club's final training session before their last preseason game of the year against the Colorado Rapids on Feb. 21, Arena admitted that Meyer's condition is improving.

"He's getting better," Arena told reporters. "Today is Thursday, we don't play ten more days. Who knows what happens with those things. We just have to wait and see right now." 

21 February 9:03 am

Landon Donovan's status for 2013 has been the biggest story in American soccer this year and on Wednesday, thanks to a young reporter, we got a little bit of insight on the Galaxy star's frame of mind.

Donovan spoke to a seminar at USC on Wednesday called "The Competitive Edge" and aspiring journalist identified as Jesse Xiao or @Xman818 on Twitter provided a constant update of the hour-long session. For the complete transcript of Donovan's quotes, see the student's Twitter feed here

Remember, the quotes are being tweeted so take them with a grain of salt, but full credit to the young journalist for informing the world on Donovan's thoughts. Should be noted, however, that Xiao claimed this class was being taped, meaning that we may have video of Donovan speaking in the coming days. 

Donovan touched on a number of topics including:

His desire to play for the U.S. national team and their mentality...

His frame of mind last season...

His initial relationship with David Beckham...

20 February 2:14 pm

CARSON, Calif. – Rafael Garcia saw his night ended early in Tuesday’s 6-2 LA Galaxy victory over Club Tijuana, but the midfielder remains one of LA’s shining stars of the preseason.

Just two minutes after coming on at the start of the second half, Garcia was shown a straight red card by referee Juan Guzman for a foul on Tijuana’s Olivier Ortiz. After being sent off, the midfielder wasn’t moping as he immediately headed into The Home Depot Center gym -- where interestingly enough, he ran into rock music legend Morrissey --  to hit the treadmill to maintain his fitness.

Once LA returned to the training ground on Wednesday, Garcia was eager to make up for what he missed out on Tuesday.

“It was obviously a foul, but it wasn’t ideal going [to be red carded] because we had to play the rest of the match a man down and in that aspect, it was disappointing,” said Garcia. “The call didn’t affect me at all though, for me it was disappointing that I didn’t get to play, but my mentality is the same. I’m going to learn from it because it was a silly foul, but we just have to move on.”

Garcia has impressed this preseason by making three starts with the first team while earning rave reviews from head coach Bruce Arena and many of his teammates.

With the season opener approaching and just a single preseason match left on the docket, Garcia admits that he is feeling more confident than ever.

“I've improved a lot,” said Garcia. “My confidence is pretty high and my thinking is to justkeep working and the times that I do get my opportunities to take advantage for them. It’s a long season and I need to get ready for whenever my number gets called.”

20 February 9:44 am

LAGalaxy.com videographer Paolo Ferrari caught up with Bryan Gaul, Hector Jimenez and Brian Perk after Tuesday's 6-2 preseason victory over Club Tijuana. 

Check out the videos below.

Bryan Gaul

Hector Jimenez

Brian Perk

20 February 9:27 am

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy defeated Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles 6-2 in the club’s penultimate preseason match before the start of the MLS regular season on March 3.

The match was a barn burner that featured several impressive goals including a brace by LA left back Bryan Gaul. Robbie Keane and Leonardo opened the scoring in the first half, but in the second half, the match really took as the team’s traded goals in quick succession.

Bryan Gaul’s brilliant finish opened the scoring before Tijuana pulled to within two with a strike from Luis Garcia Carmona. In the 80th minute, Hector Jimenez extended LA’s lead to three with a calm right-footed strike. Three minutes later, Jack McBean calmly headed home a deflection that put him alone on the goal. Tijuana pulled a second goal back in the 83rd minute off a curling free kick by Bruno Piceno.

Gaul finished the scoring in the first minute of stoppage time with a deft chip shot into an empty Xolos net.

LA ends their preseason slate on Friday against the Colorado Rapids at UC Santa Barbara’s Harder Stadium.

A few notes on the match:

LA began the match in the following lineup:

 ------------------------Perk---------------------

DeLaGarza—Gonzalez—Leonardo—Gaul

Franklin-----Sarvas---Juninho-------Clark

-------------Magee------Keane-----------------

*Referee Juan Guzman dished out six yellow cards—three to each team---and two red cards—one to each side. Rafael Garcia was shown a red card in the 47th minute, two minutes after coming on to the field and Tijuana’s Luis Trujillo was given his red in the 72nd minute, just a minute after he checked into the match.  

*The match was the second time this preseason that A.J. DeLaGarza and Sean Franklin were partnered on the right side – the first coming in a preseason victory against UCLA. When asked about this, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that LA is “looking for a little bit of cover in all the positions.”

*It was also the second time that Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez were paired in central defense. The duo started the second half of last Saturday’s scoreless draw against Gangwon FC together.

*Robbie Keane donned the captain’s armband for the match and is expected by many to serve as the club’s captain once the season begins. Throughout the first half, Keane showed the willingness to drift into deep midfield in order to kick start Galaxy attacks.

*Arena lauded Keane for his contributions on Tuesday: “He was very good and showed a really good attitude early in the game and obviously, scored a good goal and did a lot of good things.

*From the start, Bryan Gaul was aggressive in the attack, pushing up so far into midfield that at times Colin Clark appeared to be more of a third forward than a left wing.

*LA ended the game in the following formation:

---------------------Rowe---------------------

Sorto-------Opare----Ferreira-------Gaul

Rugg-----Stephens---Jimenez-------Cochrane

------------------McBean--------------------

*Once Charlie Rugg entered the match, he repeatedly checked forward to assist Magee with LA moving into a 4-3-2 formation at times. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena implied in the post game press conference that Rugg would started up top had Juan Guzman not sent off midfielder Rafael Garcia in the 47th minute.

*Arena on Garcia’s red card: “It doesn’t help in an exhibition game, but maybe it is a lesson for Rafa. He certainly came in a little late, although I don’t think it was a red card. It was an interesting exercise for the guys…You can say that [it was positive to go 10 v. 11 for several minutes], but there were so many changes going on that it is a little unfair for the guys on the field because you want them to play against even numbers. Jack McBean quickly became a right-sided midfielder in the exercise and that made it a little bit awkward, but it’s all part of it.”

*Greg Cochrane once again put another solid performance appearing very energetic on the left side and provided the assist on Hector Jimenez’s goal in the 80th minute.

*Arena on Matheus Ferreira, the club’s Brazilian trialist: “Solid. Not pressed to do a whole lot of defending at the end. Those two center backs at the end [Kofi Opare and Ferreira] need a little bit of work on their positioning and communication, but for the first time out with them together, they did fine.

*Tommy Meyer missed his second straight preseason match due to a strained hamstring that he suffered in practice. Arena told reporters that the club is evaluating the defender and the injury may cause him to miss the start of the season. 

*Heading into their final preseason game of the year on Friday against the Rapids, LA are 4-1-1 this preseason. 

20 February 8:37 am

CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy's attack came alive in their 6-2 preseason victory over Club Tijuana, but it was left back Bryan Gaul stole the show.

Gaul scored his first goals since he was a college senior at Bradley University in the club's penultimate preseason match.

Check out my sidebar on Gaul's performance here